Aerospace & Mechanical

Biomimetic Burrowing Worm Project A Finalist For Best Paper

Finalists for the Best Paper in Bimimetics.

Congratulations to AME Ph.D. student, Ariel Calderón, selected as a finalist for the Best Paper in Biomimetics at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (IEEE ROBIO 2016). Ariel was the lead author for the paper, titled "Design, Fabrication and Control of a Multi-Material–Multi-Actuator Soft Robot Inspired by Burrowing Worms," and presented the paper at the conference. His collaborators were Joakin Ugalde and Juan Cristobal of the University of Chile, and his Ph.D. advisor at USC, Néstor Peréz-Arancibia.

Segment of the biomimetic robotic worm burrowing through a pipe.

Their robot mimics a segment of an earthworm. An earthworm burrows through the soil using coordinated peristaltic and extensional motion generated by a series of circular and longitudinal muscles. The team designed and constructed pneumatic versions of these muscles. The "earthworm segment" is driven by three "muscles": a circular actuator at each end of the segment and a longitudinal actuator in the middle. To move, the rear circular actuator expands the diameter to anchor the rear inside the pipe while the front actuator maintains a small diameter. The longitudinal actuator then extends the segment's length, pushing the front forward. The front actuator then anchors the front. The rear actuator then reduces the diameter of the rear, releasing its hold on the pipe, and the longitudinal actuator contracts the segment's length, which moves the rear forward. The result of this cycle is the entire segment moves forward. Further details were presented in the paper and oral presentation at ROBIO 2016.

The IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics serves as a forum for the communication of original research in all areas of robotics, biomimetics, and related topics. ROBIO 2016 was held December 3-7, 2016 in Qingdao, China.

Certificate—Finalist for Best Paper in